Cover Image: Northwind

Northwind

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For all the students who read the Hatchet/Brian books, this is a book they may want to read even as adults. For the current generation of students, it still has great appeal as middle graders struggle to find their places in the world. It is an odyssey, a child born on the docks, orphaned, raised by the occasional sailor, sold or traded from one ship's crew to the next, he becomes a survivor. When he truly does become alone, due to cholera outbreaks which have killed those around him, he understands that he needs to flee. An old sailor once told him to head north, so he does. Paddling his dugout canoe, with a small bag of his belongings and an infant he rescued, he finds himself more alone than he ever has been in his life. He encounters deadly whirlpools, glaciers, whales and dolphins who want to play with his boat, attempting to toss it about. 

This is a thoughtful book, one in which readers will find themselves engaged. Perhaps they, like Leif, will also choose to follow their own star. I wanted to know more about Leif and what other adventures he might have had, but as we have come to the end of an amazing run of Paulsen's books, we will have to be content to leave Leif paddling north.
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This is an adventure story about a boy called Lief who is an orphan at an early age.  He ends up with a group of fishermen doing the chores no one else wants to do.  A group of people come to their camp and bring a terrible disease, so Lief's guardian sends him and another boy away to the north in a small canoe.  The other boy dies and Lief falls ill but survives. He understands that the reason he was sent away was that no one was expected to survive the illness, so with out any real plan, he continues north.  He catches fish and eats berries, makes mistakes, and sees lots of wildlife.  The story ends without a clear resolution but it's an interesting and well told tale that Paulsen describes as a collage from stories that his grandmother used to tell him.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Gary Paulsen’s most likely final book returns to his Nordic roots. Leif, age 12, has grown up on fishing ships. One day, Leif, Old Carl, Young Carl, and a few other sailors are left on an island while the rest of the crew go out to fish. While there, they are visited by another ship where the men are sick, dying, or dead. These foreign sailors spread the virus (most likely cholera) to the crew. Old Carl send Leif and Young Carl away since they weren’t sick yet but soon they both come down with the disease. Leif survives, barely, but Young Carl does not. Leif continues alone, surviving off the land and water.
The feel of this book is very much like Hatchet but more gruesome. Paulsen describes in full horrifying detail the suffering and death from cholera. This is not for the squeamish! SPOILER: The ending wasn’t really satisfying – thought there could be more, like, how will he survive the Nordic winter? Perhaps Paulsen was planning a follow-up book like the Brian series. Anyway, I did enjoy this book. I would recommend for grade 6 and up because of the graphic descriptions.
#Northwind #NetGalley
This title will be available January 11, 2022.
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Leif's short life has been full of hardship. Orphaned at birth, he was raised communally by a remote village, then pressed into backbreaking labor by everyone. His first chance at freedom is a plague that strikes down the whole community, nearly killing Leif as well. He comes out the other side of that ordeal with a handful of tools, an agile canoe, and the urge to keep heading north as far as he can go. His journey is both arduous and awe-inspiring. Paulsen captures the majesty of nature, but does not shy away from the gruesome details of Leif's fight to survive.
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This is a Middle Grade. I know this book was not for me the second I picked it up, but I did try to read it. The writing in this book is like one really long poem. This story also is storyline/plot driven with vivid descriptions of events/what happen. I like a book that is more character driven, and I love to really get to know the characters in book. This book does not have take going on. This book is not for the light hearted person because there is very detailed parts about killing animals and other stuff like that. I received an ARC of this book. This review is my own honest opinion about the book like all my reviews are.
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It is only fitting that the final book being published by Gary Paulsen is similar in so many ways to his book that has made many students fall in love with reading in the first place, Hatchet. Similar in feel, tone, language, structure and theme, Northwind is a story unto itself, but will cause readers to make connections to the "Brian books" as they read it. As in that series, the main character here, Leif, finds himself alone in an often hostile environment with only a few rudimentary tools and his own will to help him survive. This book does not take place in current times, however, but instead is set in the time of the Vikings, and a plane wreck is not the cause of Leif's predicament, instead it's cholera that wipes out the adults around him. The story takes off as Leif finds himself traveling northward, not sure of where he will end up, but certain he will know when he gets there. There are encounters with whales, glaciers, and whirlpools which threaten his life, but in each act of nature, he also learns more about himself and his place in the world. This book will keep readers engaged until the very end, and they will find themselves better humans, more aware of the world around them, after reading it. I wish there was more to Leif's story, and I believe readers will also find themselves wanting to know what other adventures he had, but if we have to come to a conclusion with Paulsen's incredible stories, this one is a perfect tale to end with.
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Northwind
Gary Paulsen

Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan (Farrah Straus Giroux) for this free copy in exchange for my honest review.

This middle grade novel may be the audience the author was targeting for this story but it is an adventure that will reach all the way up to an adult age group level. As a reader of Hatchet in my younger years I found this story to be similar in adventure and the writing style is one akin to anything a reader has come to expect from Gary Paulsen. 

The story takes place on the ocean in the Northern Pacific when a young orphan boy’s village is taken over by a life threatening disease. The boy sets out in a canoe to head North away from the sickness that is killing off his people. The descriptions of the fjord-riven shorelines are so vivid that I could clearly see these places in my mind. His interactions with the life around him were playful as you would expect of any young boy. “Young whales, above all, love to play and the young ones did not see danger in the perfect toy…” referring to Leif as he interacted with the whales he encountered. The game the whales played with the canoe as if it were a “wooden feather… pushing the canoe back and forth across the surface.” was delightful. 

It was very touching as Leif sought to know his mother through his journey as we watch him grow into a survivor. Keeping track of events on his story boards became vital as he too saw the growth that he was experiencing. 

I was not ready for the story to end and I felt that the author may have had thoughts of a sequel never to be realized with his unexpected death. His legacy will live on as readers will cherish his writing for ages to come. God bless you, Gary Paulsen, for sharing your stories with us for all these years.
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So many of Gary Paulson's books inspired me growing up and fueled my love of animals, nature and adventure. Hearing of his passing I was so saddened and I picked up Northwind, his last published book and devoured every page. Reminiscent of Hatchet, Northwind sucks you into a whirlwind survival tale where characters are pushed to their limits to live just one more day. 

Leif, an orphan, flees his small village when a deadly plague begins making people sick. Taking a wooden canoe, he paddles north along the fjords and coastlines, unsure of where to go, but knowing he can't go home. 

This book was riveting and captivating keeping me glued to the pages until the end. Middle grade readers will love this tale. Hatchet was focused on the woods, whereas Northwind focuses on a boy's connection with water. This was a nail biter, and I held my breath in several moments until our young adventure found safety. This book will inspire the next generation of young adventurers to go out there and explore the limits of their own survival.
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How sad that Gary Paulsen won't be writing any more books for us to enjoy but what a book Northwind is for the last one.  Gary Paulsen's writing has never failed to give me shivers while reading the books he wrote and this one is one of the best yet.  How someone with such a great love of the ocean and her creatures ended up in the desert I don't know but his love of water shines through this whole book.
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I loved this book.  It was like Hatchet.  I didn't expect to like it and I loved it.  The encounters with the orcas was so real, I felt like I was looking into the eye of the orca.  I will be purchasing this for my library and sharing with with all of my readers.
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Paulsen is a master of description. Truthfully, sometimes I wish he wasn’t so great, as he chooses to describe terrifying situations to a T. However, rarely can I get his books out of my head, and as an educator his books are my go to when I want to read a book as an example of description. Plus, my kids that love the outdoors always love picturing themselves in these harrowing tales. I rarely find a person, adult or child, that has read books like Hatchet and not been affected by them. So, this is EASILY a true five star book for me. I highly recommend it to kids and adults!
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In Paulsen's last book, Northwind (to be published posthumously) Paulsen leaves behind his trademark style of storytelling and ventures into a more free-thinking narrative which is largely conducted within the head of Leif, his main character.  Abandoned at birth, Leif is adopted by the inhabitants of the wharf and is passed from ship to ship as a cabin boy,cook and doer of all nasty chores.  When his latest vessel is lost, the surviving crew members establish a colony on an island which works quite well until the day a cholera infected "ghost ship" arrives.  The survivors are quickly cut down by the disease, leaving only Leif and young Carl alive.  Sent away and told to go North to escape the "bad air", young Leif must deal with death and dying and his own survival.
  Amidst descriptive language which paints a portrait of the cold, wild, beautiful and sometimes deadly landscape, Paulsen allows Leif to experience what truly living and appreciating nature is all about.  Although written for a youthful audience, many of the messages are aimed straight at the adults "in charge" in this world.  Young readers may want to try this one if they are fans of Paulsen's other works, but may come away disappointed that they were not treated to another exciting, edge of your seat adventure tale which they have come to expect from the author of "Hatchet."
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Leif is the sole character in this story of survival written by adventure master Gary Paulsen. Hatchet took place in the forested wilderness and Northwind takes the reader to the coast. Leif is a young boy on the edge between life and death where the high seas meet a coastal wilderness.

The reader is  vividly taken to the rugged coastline of  centuries ago. So why is a sole boy by himself in such tough conditions?  A deadly plague decimated  his fishing village, so now Leif is forced to take to the water in a cedar canoe with mostly only supplies the wilderness can provide and limited survival skills.  To escape the disease, Leif  flees northward, searching for air not poisoned by death. He is following a wild, fjord-riven shore, navigating one danger after another. The deeper into his journey he paddles, the closer he comes to true insight as he connects to the rhythm of the ocean, the rugged landscape and the unpredictable animals.  

Beautifully written but I don’t see all middle school readers reading this historical adventure until the end,
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Book Review ⭐️⭐️💫

Northwind
Gary Paulsen
Ages 10-14
256 Pages
Pub Day - January 11, 2022

Northwind is the story of an orphaned boy who lived in unfortunate circumstances. When Cholera hits, he is sent away, with another younger boy, in a carved-out canoe. The rest of the story tells of his life traveling from island to island. 

My Thoughts 

I am a fan of Gary Paulsen’s work, so it is hard for me to say I didn’t love this one. 

Leif’s story is told in the third person point of view. I feel it took away from the story. I couldn’t immerse myself in it or even connect with Leif. 

Although he went from island to island, the experiences he faced were quite mundane and repetitive. Even when he was in danger, I couldn’t get into the story. 

At the end, Gary Paulsen writes about how his past brought this story about. He has a love of sailing & the sea which began with stories his grandmother told him. The story made a bit more sense to me after reading this, but I still didn’t care for it. 

If you are a Gary Paulsen fan, go ahead and read this. Let me know your opinion. Just because it doesn’t float my boat doesn’t mean it won’t float yours. 😉🛶

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing this ebook to read and review.
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A survival story for the middle school reader who loves canoeing, fishing, and camping. While I don’t find it as captivating as Hatchet, I marvel at Paulsen’s ability to create a gripping tale of a boy alone in the world, meeting the challenges of nature. Readers will be caught up in a boy’s life that had no parents to rely on, no supply or grocery stores to stock up at, no electricity, no home. Give this book to those who love to be out on the water.
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Northwind is about a boy named Leif who must flee a sickness that is ravaging his community. With instructions simply to go north, he leaves in a canoe. Leif then must learn to survive bears, hunger, and dangerous waters. This book is more of a quiet, contemplative story than a swashbuckling adventure. Fans of Paulsen and nature stories are sure to like this book, but it may be too difficult for some younger readers.
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Paulsen's love and respect for our natural world comes through loud and clear in this survival story.  The Alaskan waters, shoreline, and wildlife come alive as Lief paddles north following Old Carl's s instructions.  Part survival story, part love song to the wonders found on the land, sea, and sky of the Alaskan coast this is a fitting final work from a master.
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Drawing on his own experiences sailing, Gary Paulsen creates a sea world that can almost be felt. Orphaned as a baby, Paulsen’s main character has been raised by sea-faring men who have sold Leif from ship to ship.  But fortunes turn and when cholera leaves him alone, Leif takes to the sea in a small canoe and a bundle of pitiful supplies. His journey teaches him to love the freedom that the sea brings and will leave readers certain that their skin is salt water wet and that whales and icebergs are within reach. Paulsen’s gift of writing outdoor adventures for readers in grades 4-8 will be greatly missed.
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Intense. The images just keep on coming. Gary Paulsen is a master at painting the scene for his readers and he outdoes himself in "Northwind". On the surface, the plot sounds simple. A boy left alone in the wilderness through no fault of his own and forced to rely on his own wits and ability to learn from events and his own mistakes. Hey, I think I've heard that story before! Yes, the wilderness and self-reliance are a common theme in many Paulsen books but this time he's taken us to sea, to sea in a small canoe. Paulsen, an avid sailor, combines his wilderness lore and knowledge of the sea to create a memorable picture of a boy becoming a man against the backdrop of the sea, a sea that includes swirling tides, whales, and even icebergs. While I can see this being a bit too intense for some young readers.... the target is middle grades .... he has another winner in "Northwind". 

I live in Alaska and have observed whales from a small boat, one that appeared relatively large at the dock but suddenly seemed dwarfed when surrounded by leaping, playing whales. I remember the awe of thinking I could almost reach out and touch a mother whale that came up alongside where I stood, then dived and swam directly under our boat. Thus, I could experience some of the awe and unease Leif, the main character, must have felt when encountering these massive, majestic creatures. Bears are common, too, in Alaska, often in our own yards, so I shuddered when Leif came practically face to face with one. Ravens? Everywhere and I chuckled at the descriptions of their calls. It should come as no surprise to any but new readers that Gary Paulsen once lived in Alaska. He knows the north. Blending that knowledge with Nordic mythology, he makes the experience, both the wondrous and frightening ones, real. Like Leif, I have to wonder if Paulsen is also always looking north, even when at the helm of a sailboat, as he keeps on learning and sharing the oneness of nature with us.

Thank you NetGallery and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the ARC.
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Nightwind is Gary Paulson at his best- boy versus wild, on an adventure to survive and find himself.  Leif is faced with challenge after challenge,  never knowing what might arise around the next island.  Up against disease, bears, killer whales, hunger and many other dangers, he continues to make his way north at the advice of Old Carl. The historical fiction twist aired with the survival story will remind the reader of a mash up of Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins- a perfect pair for fans of this genre.
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